Hello from Colorado!
It took a pandemic but we finally pulled the trigger and said goodbye to California, our home for the past 16+ years. It’s a bittersweet feeling because I love California. How can I not? It’s where I spent most of my adult life, a constant background of all of my notable life moments: college, getting married, first job, citizenship…
San Francisco is always going to be home for me. Driving across the Golden Gate Bridge never fails to make me catch my breath, doesn’t matter how many times I’ve done it. All of our friends are still there and I already miss them dearly. I’m going to miss running across the street to the corner store for a pint of Ben & Jerry, walking home giggly and tipsy from our favorite neighborhood bar in SF, and getting a breakfast burrito from the coffee shop down in our building.
Why the move?
Change is the only constant thing
If I love California so much, why move? I guess the need for change has been a constant theme in our life. Every 4-5 years we seem to get restless of working the same job or living in the same city. I guess for most people this is when they decide to adopt a new pet or pick up a new hobby or something, but we’ve done that, and that too.
In 2011, 4 years after we got out of college, we quit our job to travel the world (that was when this blog was born – wow, holy shit that was almost 10 years ago, time flies!). 4 years later, we quit our job *again*, this time to set out in a converted Sprinter van to climb all over North America followed by a quick stint of living in Europe.
Related: Our Story
That was about 4.5 years ago, so it’s not a surprise that we were feeling yet again the urge to shake things up.
Feeling trapped in SF
Another reason is that the Bay Area has changed a lot. What used to be tolerable is now painfully unsustainable. Traffic has become so bad that sometimes it would take us 1 hour just to get to the Bay Bridge, one of the main arteries to leave the City – a whopping distance of < 2 miles. We felt trapped.
Working from home is the new reality
Then 2020 happened. We’re one of the lucky ones – our jobs adapt well to working remotely. With work-from-home mandate, all of a sudden we had no reason to stay where we were. Especially with both of us working from home and staying home all day, every day, the need for space has become critical. We were crawling up the walls.
I know we’re not the only one who felt that way. California tech-exit is real.
So why Colorado?
We’ve been talking about moving to CO ever since we visited the state during our van trip 5 years ago. We spent nearly 3 months criss crossing the state, climbing in Boulder, doing the via ferrata in Telluride, and mountain biking in Crested Butte. I fell in love with the wild mountain ranges. There’s something about Colorado that spoke to me even back then. I *knew* I wanted to live here. Each subsequent short visit afterwards just reinforced that feeling.
Colorado has a strong outdoor culture, as well a healthy Western tradition that I’ve always found fascinating. While boondocking in Rifle, we woke up to find our Sprinter van surrounded by cows and horseback-riding cowboys. As a city girl, that was definitely a memorable experience.
Bonus: Our favorite brewery of all time is based in Colorado and for some reason, their beers is impossible to find in California. This is the sprinkle on the icing on the cake that sold the cake.
Once the decision was made, everything happened quickly. We signed a lease sight-unseen, put our furniture in a pod, flew with our cat, and here we are in a suburb-ish part of Denver metro.
From Urban to Life in the Suburb
Going from a hyper-urban lifestyle to a suburban environment was quite jarring. We have a car now, the first car we’ve had since we sold our van 5 years ago. One month in, I still find myself walking everywhere, even when it’s 40 degrees out. Even when walking to the nearest store involves crossing a 10-lane boulevard.
Getting in a car only to drive to a store less than a mile away just doesn’t seem right.
But I’m not going to lie, the extra space has been really nice. We live in a 2 bedroom townhome now with a patio, an attached garage, and in-unit washer and dryer; things that many of our suburbia friends take for granted. But these are luxuries we couldn’t afford in SF.
Our weekends now consist of exploring local trails, going on bike rides (Denver metro has an AMAZING network of trails connecting various neighborhoods, parks, and landmarks), and watching the snow forecast wondering when we can hit the ski slopes.
Moving to a new place is always exciting. Moving to a new state as beautiful as Colorado is even better. There are so many trails to hit, crags to climb, and peaks to summit (CO is famous for its 53 peaks over 14k feet in elevation – the 14ers – but let’s not forget the 13,000-foot peaks – there are over 600 of them!)
In 2020, I try to be mindful of all the good things in life. I’m so, so thrilled to call Colorado home. At least for now.